Wow! Stonefly USO features uses ‘Elastic Hashing’ to locate data and this is one of the major highlights of this storage appliance. But in order to get deep into this highlight, let us go into some basic facts about Metadata and the benefits gained from its absence in a storage solution. Metadata is structural information of simple data that explains, describes, locates and makes it easy to retrieve, manage, and utilize an information resource. In other words, Metadata is a key to ensure that resources will survive and continue to be accessible in future.
There are mainly three types of Meta data:
- The first one is ‘Descriptive Form’ of Metadata where the data illustrates a resource with a purpose of discovery and identification. In general, it will include the elements such as title, abstract, author and keywords.
- The second type is ‘Structural Form of Metadata’ which indicates how the data is clubbed. To better understand this concept, we can take the example of how pages are ordered to form chapters and how chapters are clubbed together to constitute a book in an organized way.
- ‘Administrative form of Metadata’ is the third type which provides help in managing the resource, such as the details of how it was created, the file type and all the other technical information related to the data and those who can access it.
One may get a feeling by now, that metadata offers huge loads of benefits and so having it as a feature in a storage solution will be a basic essential.
But here are some facts which can turn your conclusion upside down. One of the main benefits of having ‘No metadata’ is that there is no Metavolume. So, if a storage solution supports Metadata feature, it limits the number of scale out nodes that a storage solution can have. In situations where the request for the data becomes greater than the throughput of the volume that it is capable of, network bottleneck usually occur, which further result in slowing down of all the data driven processes. Hence, this can affect the entire storage subsystem and thus, the scalability feature will not be that significant. Results such as Slowing down of response time for online databases, increase in wait time seen in Online Transaction Processing (OLTP) environments and end user dissatisfaction are seen.
Many storage vendors support metadata and limit their number of nodes and thus limit the scalability feature of their storage solution. But Stonefly doesn’t do that, as the absence of metadata support makes the scalability feature of USO, perpetuate to a large extent.
Another major disadvantage of having Metadata support is that it cannot provide comprehensive descriptions, which means many of the search terms will return few results or in some instances zero results.
So, in order to prevent its customers from drawbacks of having a metadata feature, StoneFly Unified Scale Out appliances offer “No metadata” support feature in them. This means, you can simply throw data into storage and that can be of any type. One can store text alongside binary files and alongside numbers. The storage solution can store photos documents, videos and everything which the user likes to or needs to share.
In short, StoneFly USO does not create, store or use a separate index of metadata. Instead it goes on with an algorithmic process, where the storage pool is encapsulated with an intelligence to locate any piece of data without looking it up in an index and querying it with the server.
So, an enterprise will get all the absolute benefits from the absence of this feature, as it can store data in the form of documents, presentations, videos, photos and in short anything and everything.